KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rare hydrogen and nitrogen deposits have been found in Kansas that could prove to be a significant source of cheap, pollution-free energy, a Missouri firm reported Thursday.
Roger Billings, president of the Independence-based Billings Corp., said the hydrogen deposits could be compared with the discovery of 65 million barrels of oil.
He said the approximate market value of the find could exceed $2 billion, although any commercial application of the hydrogen was still at least a year away.
'The discovery of the Clark Hydrogen Field brings hydrogen close to the threshhold of large scale commercial development as an alternative fuel,' Billings said.
'We've known all along that hydrogen could power cars and homes, but it would take an enormous investment in a major high-volume producing plant to make this possible.
'This discovery of a plentiful and affordable supply of hydrogen should create substantial commercial markets for many of the devices our company has developed over the years,' he said.
The gases were discovered when CFA Oil Co. recently drilled for oil on 35,000 acres of land it had leased around Junction City, Kan. Cement poured into the wells to cap them would not set, a sign hydrogen was present.
Billings bought 'a substantial portion' of the hydrogen rights from CFA for a reported $15 million.
Unless hydrogen is found in its natural state -- an extremely rare situation -- it must be manufactured, which is an expensive process. A spokesman for Billings said hydrogen could be used as a fuel with only minor modifications in the burning instrument.
An advantage of burning hydrogen as a fuel in place of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas or coal is that it is virtually pollution free. The only byproduct of burning hydrogen is water.
The wells could offer another bonus because the hydrogen is mixed with almost pure nitrogen, which also is an unusual occurrence. The nitrogen could be used to produce fertilizer and other products that would benefit agriculture.